Monday, September 24, 2007

In Search of the Mony Stone and Corrimony Cave

Tuesday September 16, 2007:

The Mony stone, Near Glen Urquhart, proved very difficult to find. It took a late lunch and some delicious chocolate cake and the helpful advice of a tea shop manager to put us on the right road. It seemed so easy, we thought, driving up the wrong road! Strange trees there were, but no stone nestling in it’s midst. Inviting paths there were, over styles, running purposefully across fields, but no stone to be found. Not a sol was in site. The smoke rising from the chimney of a nearby house briefly tempted us to ask, but we thought better of it.

The Mony stone (raised to commemorate the death of a Norse Prince) stands under some very large and ancient looking trees. The trees, Wellantonias, look like they have been there since the stone was raised; however they were planted many centuries later. The stone has three Pictish symbols carved into it and these days is framed by several carefully placed fallen trunks, very handy for sitting on. The dense foliage of the trees, the stone and the trunks, provide a very comfortable shelter in which to rest.

But by this time, I was wanting a cave. The map mentioned one and a big waterfall so we left the humble looking Mony Stone to sit quietly under its canopy of trees and cross the river Enrick and began to walk up hill.

Beside us, the river gurgled busily. The path led up the hill, weaving in and out of the trees. The river merged from steep and deep banks and ran past us down a series of random steps.

Here, the forest encroached, the trees growing thickly, the undergrowth denser as we climbed higher. There, the river glimmered intermittently between the trunks, growing further and further away, and I grew impatient to be back by its side. So we turned and edged our way back down, looking for that other path, the one that would lead us to the waterfall and the cave in the riverbank.

Of course we never found it. The trees near the water clung precariously onto the steep banks, the path almost obliterated by the undergrowth. We came to a fence across our way where the near invisible path disappeared altogether. There was no way through.

Disssapointed, we turned back and walk down to the bridge. As we walked I imagined the salmon leaping joyfully down the rushing river steps and the sharp-eyed bird of prey swooping to follow its shining summersalting path. I felt a great rush of joy. I breathed in the cool fresh air and gave thanks for life and the opportunity to walk in peace, here in nature amongst her trees and on her undulating land.


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